Switzerland is in the midst of an economic surge compared to other coronavirus-ravaged countries, with fast and efficient loans making the difference, experts say.
Applicants trying to get loans from Swiss institutions have a remarkably easy time of it compared to many comparable countries. Stories from applicants say they only had to take a minute or two to fill out and scan a single-page form for a liquidity lifeline.
Thirty minutes later, the money was in the account of the requester.
That’s a big difference from the U.K., where companies are having to spend multiple days on the phone in a confusing whirlwind of red tape trying to get the federal financial aid intended to help with the fallout of the virus, which has forced stores to close and lay off employees worldwide and sent the economy spiraling.
France and Germany are similarly struggling, with reports coming in of broken and overloaded systems after the approved aid systems were put into action. Some requests have been denied, despite the companies seemingly qualifying for aid.
But the Swiss seem to have found the golden ticket.
According to statistics, Switzerland’s SFr20bn ($20bn) plan has distributed SFr15bn to 76,034 businesses since debuting on March 25, and the number will soon be doubled to 40bn.
Swiss citizens have even been surprised by the speed of the system, with its one page form ensuring that employees continue to be paid while things are shut down and the businesses themselves can be protected for the time being.
The Swiss system has two components. The first allows businesses to apply for an immediate loan for up to 10 percent of the business’s annual revenue, interest-free. The second allows an 85 percent loan, charging 0.5 percent interest, with the bank assuming the other 15 percent at a competitive rate.
Swiss officials were able to put the system into place almost overnight due to the fact that it’s run through existing bank networks and customer relationships. Not much new was needed in terms of putting it all together, and the banks already had people’s relevant information.
Because of the success, governments of other European countries have been in contact with the Swiss, hoping to work out the kinks.